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[teacherartexchange] Are you doing the "same boring stuff"? (Think Change)


From: Judy Decker (judy.decker_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sat Feb 25 2006 - 08:20:50 PST

Greetings Art Educators,

I "talked" with Alissa quite a bit yesterday.... She will have no
problem finding job - she will get her pick. My apologies to Alissa's
cooperating teacher if you see yourself here on this list (smile).

Here is one short blurb from her:

> I read your post on the art-education list about TAB...and glad you
> told the other group about it. I see teachers in my school doing the
> same boring stuff and the kids are not interested at all. They are
> just going through the motions. I don't want that.
> So, any advice would be greatly appreciated. I think it is the
> opportunity, since I will be getting my own classroom to start with
> this, rather than changing an existing routine.

She plans to go TAB Choice - mixing in all she learned about DBAE,
Multicultural Education, Brain Based Art Ed and Visual Culture (all
new teachers should become familiar with all the buzz words). She
plans to differentiate - individualize her instruction.

You can read all of the discussion on TAB list generated by her post there:
Start with post # 2988 student teacher interested in TAB
You do not need to join to read the posts..... If you like what you
see - DO subscribe....listen to the conversations....browse the
archives more.... then ask the experts.

Here is one of my replies to her off TAB list (long winded at that):

You are student teaching right? Do you want to
try some choice now?
You can start slow - introduce SOME choices. If you start with total
choice right now, with kiddies that are used to the "same boring
lessons" you may get nothing from them (I have actually "seen" this
happen).... as, believe it or not, they won't know what to do!! They
have never had to come up with their OWN ideas. These students will
need to have their imaginations jump started. See the page on how
artists get ideas:

Give me topics of some lessons you want to do.... and I will tell you
some ideas of integrating some choices.... Trust me on this one. Total
Choice may not work right away and you will be tearing your hair out
(grin). Even Patty Knott - who is VERY pro-choice does not give total
choice to high school (students often need some direction in order for
all of your objectives to be met).

What you might want to do right now - is just TRY an Independent
project assignment and see how that goes. There is a lesson on
Incredible Art Department for it.
The contemporary artist for the image shown was Sergio Hernandez (I
need to link that) - as well as the Mexican Printmaker (Jose Posada)
Have the students do some art history and research with it.... what
they do with that will be their choice. Of course, they will NOT be
allowed to copy anything they find as you will also include a lesson
in copyright and what is fair use and what is not. Get your college
supervisor on board to support you so the cooperating teacher will
allow this. One list member on Art Education list has a cooperating
teacher who is a real stick in the mud - she won't budge (I won't go
into the BORING lesson she wants the kids to do). I hope yours is

I can tell you what worked for me and what might work
for you. My situation was so different from where you are that I don't
think what I actually did in the classroom will be as relevant. I
will still tell you more of what I did later, if you wish. Just know
that the kids in 1975 - 1979 were way different that the kids today

Student teaching:

Kids actually signed up for various courses (I taught the
jewelry, ceramics and sculpture, and crafts classes) - so that took
care of part of the choice aspect. Each kid then was on an individual
plan. Crafts class all chose their own projects -near total choice
there. I would sit down and talk to them about their interests then
together we would come up with media they could choose. I was a crafts
major in college (sculpture, too) - so I was well versed in ceramics,
weaving (both on loom and off loom techniques), jewelry. We also did
mosaic and batik.
I was lucky as the crafts class was my smallest. They were phasing out
that offering.

The first year that I taught, I was stuck with Art I - Art II - Art
III and Art IV as course offerings as schedule was set and students
placed. I only did Choice with Art IV that year. The next two years, I
integrated more choice with the other levels. Students signed up for
drawing and painting, ceramics and sculpture, or printmaking. My Art
I (Art Fundamentals) class remained much the same.... so again....
that set the boundaries for their choice of medium.... Students had
individual plans within those boundaries. This was all the "rage" in
the 1970s (Individualized Instruction). Have a chuckle... after I
left, they went back to the boring Art I, Art II, Art III and Art IV
and very boring projects for a number of years..... That school now
has an EXCELLENT art teacher who is back to providing choices (smile).

Research does show that students excel when choices are given and
they have a say in what they learn (I did have some CHOICE in my
teaching from 1994 till I retired - even though what you see on IAD
are the "recipes"... I wrote the recipes for the administrators - they
don't include everything that was going on in my classroom) I have
some of the research articles listed on this TAB Choice page:
In time.... I will try to add more how to set up a Choice Classroom...
with some examples of centers.... all in good time.

It is my hope that CHOICE becomes a more frequent topic of discussion
on these art ed lists.


Judy Decker
Incredible Art Department
Incredible Art Resources

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